Wait, you’re looking for the best Google Chrome apps? Chrome is a browser and those programs we download to make them work better are called plugins, right? Yes, when you’re talking about Firefox and Internet Explorer, those things we download to make our web browsing experience more enjoyable or complete and safer are called plugins.
However, Google’s Chrome is really more of an operating environment within a larger operating environment (Windows or MacOS) than just a mere browser. The Chrome browser is capable of much more than just browsing the web and streaming digital media.
A Little Information about the Google Chrome Browser
Most people that use Google’s Chrome browser think that it’s just that, a browser. However, it’s actually a miniature version of Android that has a browser as its user interface. When you download and install an extension, it looks and acts just like an Explorer or Firefox add-on — it just enhances your browsing experience in some way.
However, when you download and install an app from the Chrome Web Store, it appears in the main Chrome dashboard when you first launch the browser. The process for this is pretty easy:
- In the Chrome browser, go to the Chrome Web Store.
- Browse or search for the apps you want.
- Click on the blue button (Free or Price) in the upper-right corner of the window that opens.
That’s it. Once you log into your Google account, the app will automatically install and you will be taken to the Apps/Dashboard page of your browser.
Best Google Chrome Apps
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best Google Chrome apps to help you and your Internet life move along easier.
TweetDeck Makes Twitter Easier to Navigate
Twitter is one of the most popular social networking/messaging platforms on the net today. TweetDeck‘s strength lies in its ability to allow users to track tweets to and from multiple accounts at a glance. I use it because it allows me to keep track of the doings and sayings of my favorite athletes, teams, and tech writers (and the Mythbusters crew, too) much more easily than the actual Twitter site.
If I see something I want or need to respond to, I can, and I don’t have to wade through multiple pages to find it.
“Awesome New Tab Page’ Starts Your Day Right
By using the “Awesome New Tab Page” app, which is free, you can set up your “New Tab” default page with links to all of your favorite pages (see cover pic). You can even set it to your favorite Reddit pages, to get a quick look at the latest news on your favorite topic.
Go to Google Maps with a Single Mouse Click
We’ve all used Google Maps, with admittedly mixed results at times. However, it’s my opinion that it’s the best free mapping software available, hands down. However, there are times when I don’t want to have to type in maps.google.com to look up a map. The Google Maps app in the Chrome Web Store lets me get there with just the press of a button. Even better, I can also get almost real-time traffic updates with it.
Chrome Remote Desktop Brings Those Forgotten Files to You
Ok, I admit; this app is more along the lines of something that does desktop support or usually works from home but spends one or two days a week at the office. However, it’s great for those times when you get all the way to work and realize that that critical report you worked on last night is on the pendrive that you left in the USB slot on your computer at home. It’s also pretty cool for when you told grandma about those pictures from her grandchild’s last party while sitting around the dinner table, but didn’t email them to her. Just launch the app and download them directly.
Full Screen Weather Brings Regional Weather to Your Desktop
If you’re like me, you like to know what the weather has in store for your day and week. Full Screen Weather gives you that capability without having to go to a special site or page. Just click on the app and you’re presented with a fully detailed satellite weather radar map of your area. The map works like any other mapping program/site by letting you zoom in and out to get as granular or coarse as you want.
Get a full map of North America, or a screen-sized map of your city or neighborhood.
Pixlr Editor Lets You Edit Photos Easily
Pixlr Editor lets you do minor image editing much more quickly and easily than Photoshop.
My mom’s a professional photographer, so every time I upload a less than perfect picture to Facebook, I hear about it: “You should have adjusted the color and removed the red-eye before posting this.”
I like Photoshop for doing things like creating montages and adding fancy text to images, but Pixlr Editor lets me make minor color corrections and remove red-eye caused by glare from camera flash quickly and easily. Sure, I can do these things in Photoshop, but Pixlr Editor is much quicker and easier. Click, click, click — Look mom, I’m almost as good as you at taking pictures now!
Privacy Palette Keeps Your Browsing History Private
Privacy concerns have become headline news the past few months. I admit this app isn’t going to keep your browsing and online activity secret from any government entities or even from those that really want to track you, but it will increase your online security quite a bit. It lets you control tracking cookies, erase your browsing history, and stop many of those annoying ads from popping up.
It also makes it so you don’t need a computer science degree to manage your computer security settings.
Imo Messenger Brings a Number of Chat Networks Together
Years ago, I used to be active on a number of different chat networks such as ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, and others. It was a hassle and a drain on my computer resources having to run separate applications for each these networks, though. Even worse, there was no way for me to talk with friends that had AOL and MSN Messenger. Sure, there were applications that let me talk to people on different networks without having to have six or seven programs running, but I was never able to bring all those people together in a single window so we could all talk together.
Imo Messenger lets me do that, all inside my Chrome browser. I just launch the app in the browser, give it my username and password for whatever network I want, like Yahoo Messenger, and it connects me to the network. I can then give the program the names and networks of my friends and it lets me bring them all together into a group chat, or I can chat with them individually. I can even send and receive voice messages and files from my friends, just like if I had my Messenger applications going, but I can also group share these files, which is something the stand-alone applications don’t allow.
100% Free (and Legal) eBooks and Audiobooks
If you’re like me, you spend quite a bit of your free time with your nose in an ebook or listening to an audiobook and you don’t really like paying the listed prices at the Kindle and Nook stores online. 100% Free eBook & Audiobooks has a constantly-updated list of sites that offer ebook and audiobooks for free, legally.
This is perfect. I love books, but I can’t see paying even $5 for a book that I’m only going to have for a few days at the most. With this app, I don’t have to. I may not have the full selection of the types of books I like, as I do at the Kindle or Nook stores, but there’s plenty available to keep me happy.
A Word about the Online Video Store
Another thing I like to do in my downtime is watch videos online. My favorite app for this in the Chrome Web Store is Military Videos. However, I know this isn’t for everyone. The Chrome Store has dozens of apps that let you watch TV shows (Family Guy, Futurama, RealTV) and movies (Movies, Online Movies, and Movie Club Online Legal Movies). There are apps for dramas, comedies, horror, and even one for fans of NASA videos.
The best Google Chrome apps keep you entertained and informed. Hopefully, you found a few in here that you’ll enjoy in the coming days.